- Associated Press - Thursday, August 7, 2014
Minnesota nets $5 million to fix flood-hit roads

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Another $5 million in federal assistance is bound for Minnesota to help repair roads and bridges damaged by severe flooding in June.

Gov. Mark Dayton’s administration said Thursday that the emergency repair money is on top of $5 million previously released by the Federal Highway Administration.

The money will be managed by the Minnesota Department of Transportation but be used to expedite local repairs, particularly in areas where cash flow might otherwise be difficult.

Heavy, sustained rains washed out many roads and bridges in several parts of the state. Minnesota also has federal disaster aid requests pending with federal agencies that could help with repairs to other damaged infrastructure.

___

FDA: Georgia plant waited to disclose salmonella

ALBANY, Ga. (AP) - Officers at a Georgia peanut plant took five days to disclose that lab tests found salmonella in some of their products, despite repeated questioning from on-site inspectors rushing to find the source of a deadly national outbreak, a federal investigator testified Thursday.

Food and Drug Administration inspectors arrived at the Peanut Corp. of America plant in rural Blakely on Jan. 9, 2009, after tubs of salmonella-tainted peanut butter were traced to the factory. Now the company’s former owner and two others are standing trial in U.S. District Court in a rare instance of corporate officers and workers being prosecuted in a food poisoning case.

Bob Neligan, an FDA food safety investigator, told the jury Thursday the plant’s manager told inspectors during their first day at the plant that the only time salmonella had been detected during routine lab tests on the company’s products had turned out to be a false positive. The same manager, Samuel Lightsey, changed his story a few days later, he said.

“It was finally on day five that Mr. Lightsey revealed they had had three positives for salmonella, and that would have been in the last year or so,” Neligan said. “We had continuously asked that from day one.”

By the end of January, after the FDA took the unusual step of issuing Peanut Corp. a mandatory order to turn over two years of records, inspectors found lab tests had confirmed salmonella in 12 lots of ground peanuts, peanut paste and peanut butter produced at the Georgia plant since 2007. He said most companies linked to food-borne illnesses voluntarily “hand over as many records as they can to resolve the issue quickly.”

___

McFadden to deliver GOP’s weekly address

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Minnesota Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mike McFadden will deliver the GOP’s weekly rebuttal to President Barack Obama.

The party’s radio address is generally delivered by sitting lawmakers or governors, although some candidates have given it in the past. Tapping McFadden to counter Obama’s weekly radio address - even before Tuesday’s primary election to pick the GOP nominee to challenge Democratic Sen. Al Franken - underscores his support within the national establishment.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office confirmed McFadden will deliver the speech, which will air Saturday at 5 a.m. McFadden’s campaign spokesman Tom Erickson said it will focus on economic issues.

Other Minnesota Republicans who have given the radio address include then-Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Rep. John Kline in 2009 and Rep. Erik Paulsen in 2010.

McFadden is a former investment banker and first-time candidate. With the state GOP endorsement and a big fundraising advantage, he is seen as the favorite in the Republican primary against state Rep. Jim Abeler and three lesser-known candidates. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce endorsed McFadden earlier this week, and the group’s national political director pledged “aggressive” outside spending to back his bid to unseat Franken.

___

Johnson draws fire as GOP’s governor primary nears

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Jeff Johnson has become the punching bag in the Minnesota Republican primary for governor - and he’s just fine with that.

The Hennepin County commissioner is increasingly catching flak from three competitors. Johnson takes it as a sign he’s out front in a race that has gone months without a clear favorite. Tuesday’s primary winner will face Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton in November’s election.

“We knew that would happen, that whoever was behind would likely start going on the attack,” Johnson said Thursday. “But it’s getting late and I don’t think it’s going to affect things all that much.”

First it was businessman Scott Honour, who sharply questioned whether Johnson would be bold enough when it comes to cutting the state budget and reducing the might of organized labor. Former state Rep. Marty Seifert has made a point in recent days of emphasizing Johnson’s blowout loss in the 2006 attorney general race as a sign he could have general election trouble. Rep. Kurt Zellers, the former House speaker, has repeatedly swung at Johnson over his openness to expand the state sales tax to more items as long as the tax rate is simultaneously cut.

The candidates are done with their pre-primary debates. One that had been set for Thursday night on WCCO Radio got canceled after Zellers and Honour said they wouldn’t debate if Johnson wasn’t there. Johnson, who has the Republican Party’s convention endorsement, cited a scheduling conflict in declining to participate.

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.

blog comments powered by Disqus

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide